Time management is a lie. We can’t manage time. What we can manage are the actions we take in the 24 hours we have each day. If we consider these actions and manage them in a way that supports us, everything ultimately works out and the actions we take move our life forward in the direction we choose.

How can we start to manage our actions? There are only so many actions you can take in a day, so many possibilities in that day. When you align your actions with your values, you are only acting on what is of value to you and what is important to you and to the people you value. Part of this requires going through a process of figuring out your values–identifying what’s important to you–and figuring out your needs and your wants.

Just as in marketing they tell you to figure out why a customer should buy from you. You need to know what your big whys are. Why are you here? What is the reason for your existence? What were you put here to do? How can you serve others while on this planet? You can tie religion into this exploration or not. The point is to live a good life you need a reason to move forward. Your reason(s) are your why. Answering the “why question” helps you figure out your values. Yours will be different than others’ values, and they will also differ depending on the stage of life you are in. It’s important to focus on your values because after you know your values then you can take a look at your needs and wants.

What does this have to do with time management? You can use all this information as a filter to help you decide what actions are imperative, preferred, unnecessary, or damaging to you. Knowing this helps you create a system for managing your actions. In turn this determines how you use your time.

Remember: it is not time you are managing. You are managing your actions so that they (and you) stay in alignment with your big whys and your values. In doing so, you are living a powerfully considered life.

Knowing your big whys is not a one-time thing. You must continue to examine them over the course of your lifetime because with major life changes, your values can change. For example, in the past you may not have valued having children. Now you want to have them. Take some time and write down your current whys. They will guide you as to the actions you need to take and those necessary actions will guide your time.

Ultimately, what you are learning is prioritizing and then acting based on your what you value and want to accomplish in your life.